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Kelly Verel

Co-Executive Director

Kelly believes that unlocking the potential of Public Spaces can foster social change. This commitment inspires her work as the Co-Executive Director at Project for Public Spaces, where she drives and executes our nonprofit’s vision as well as oversees the Market Cities Program, Events, and Finance and Operations.

In almost two decades at our organization, Kelly has led the planning, design, and development of public markets and undertook pilot projects in Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Toronto to kickstart citywide market strategies. As someone who enjoys gathering professionals in the field, she has spearheaded many of our popular online trainings, including How to Create Successful Markets. Since 2009, she has planned and now directs our International Public Markets Conferences, which have taken place worldwide, including Toronto and Barcelona. Kelly also enjoys sharing her passion for public spaces, including markets, with others and is a sought-after speaker and thought leader.

Her career began in the local food and sustainable agriculture field, specifically farmers markets, which inspired her to dig deeper into the management, operations, and impacts of all types of public markets. Having worked at GrowNYC, Kelly remains very involved with NYC’s farmers markets both professionally, and personally—it’s where she does her weekly shopping in pursuit of culinary adventures. 

In her spare time, you can find her exploring NYC with her husband and two kids.

Favorite Public Space

"Campo de' Fiori in Rome is the perfect, multi-purpose public space. In the morning, this simple plaza hosts a market, in the afternoon, the surrounding cafes set up tables for people-watching, and then in the evening, Italians take their evening stroll."